Sunday, June 30, 2013

Salad in a Jar - Southwest!

After posting this picture on my Instagram and the feedback I got I knew that this post was going to be in the plans for me this weekend! I was already planning on doing it, so it just made sense. Anyways I made a pin out of it HERE so you can put it on your board and go back to it as often as you would like!

Remember that time you were so excited to write that blog post that you forgot to take tons of pictures to go along....-_-  Story of my life!!!

I am sure you have heard of Salad in a Jar. Running rampant all over Pinterest I sure have. And as a 23 year old who lives by herself and doesn't want to cook for an hour every day for one person it seemed really appealing. I probably pinned a couple of the ones on Pinterest and got to reading and it looked too good to be true. Do all of the prep work one day and the salads last a week or two. I was very skeptical because we all know what happens to bagged lettuce once it touches the open air.....yeah you have 24 hours to eat that stuff. Most of the things I read stated that you need to have a vacuum seal for the mason jars but I didn't want to spend the money, so I decided to try it and see how it works.

About 2 months ago at work I did these to keep in the fridge and chopped up all my veggies and everything did my layers according to plan and made some fantastic jars. I put them in the fridge and no lie, they lasted 2 weeks, with the lettuce still fresh. How?!?! I think I found the secret! I make sure that when I put the lettuce in the top that I stuff it full, not like just barely but like cramming it in there till nor more lettuce is able to fit! Taking up a lot of the air space and not allowing it to wilt.

So anyways come time yesterday, I was in Kroger after a work out which is always when I want to eat my best, and I was in the produce section. Kroger has these little salads that are about hmm, 3.59/3.99 and they come with lettuce and all the fixings and dressing, oh and a fork. So you can just take it out and mix it up and have a great salad! Well sitting there staring at it I decided I needed to do another Salad in a jar, and got inspiration from the Southwest salad.

My how I love a  good Southwest salad, the flavors, the corn, it's all sooo good.

Here are the Ingredients

6 Mason Jars - Medium Size (I get these at JoAnns or Michaels when they are on sale or use my coupon so then you can get them super cheap! And once you get them you can re-use and re-use!)

16 oz Boneless Skinless Chicken - I use organic! ( 3.00)
1 Tbl  Extra Virgin Olive Oil - (I had this in the cabinet so I don't have a price...)
1 Fajita Seasoning Mix - (.77)
1Sweet Canned Corn - (.69)
1/2 bottle Hidden Valley Dressing - (1.43)
1 Green Pepper - (.89)
2-3 Roma Tomatoes - (.93)
1/2 Bag Tyler Farm South West Kit - (1.99)
1 Bag Fresh Select Romaine Blend - (2.69)
Kroger Tortilla Strips - (.38)

(All of the prices are for what you actually use, some might be more but this is the cost to make 6 of these jars specifically)

$12.77 Total which means each jar costs $2.12 (yes please!)

This is how we do it.....

First take the chicken and weigh it to make sure it is exactly 16oz, just for caloric value and then I chop it up into cubes. Place it in a bowl and pour the entire Fajita seasoning packet on it and mix it so that all the chicken gets covered.

Then heat up your pan and place 1 TBS oil, (This came after I dumped the chicken in there and realized it was going to stick to everything, duh Jenny!!). Get that chicken going and heat all the way through until it is done!

After the chicken is done, I use the same pan, not washing it and pour the entire can of corn (that has already been drained!) onto the skillet to let it roast.

While that is cooking I am getting my pepper and tomato cut. The pepper I dice into pretty good size pieces and the tomato I just slice into rings. (You can use cherry tomatoes, but I do not like the flavoring of them so that's why I choose Roma and it's way cheaper!) This is where I had a lapse in judgment and didn't take as many pictures.

Once everything is diced and sliced and the corn is still roasting I line my jars up and get ready for assembly.

The first thing that goes in the jar is the dressing, I use this stuff. It is really good and yeah maybe it's 100 calories for 2TBS but sometimes you just have to live! ( I am sure you can find a less calorie version but I wanted the real deal!)

I place 2TBS of dressing on the bottom of the jars, they look like this.

Then in order, I evenly place all of these ingredients. The order is very important to ensure a really good salad!!
Corn (these two will sink into the dressing and that is A-OK!)
Tomatoes (I used just two slices per jar)
Then I open up the Southwest Blend Bag from Taylor Farms, it has cabbage, iceberg, cilantro, and carrots in it. I put 1/4 cup in each jar which only uses up like 1/2 the bag.
The final thing to go in is the Romaine Blend. I use the entire bag and spread it evenly among the jars and stuffed as much in each jar as I could. Don't be afraid to get a little crazy in that aspect, it's better for your salad.
After that I place the lid on tightly and securely and you end up with jars that look like this!!!

Place them in the fridge and they should last a week and possibly two! Nothing like taking a salad out with all of the prep work already done.
When you are ready to eat just pull out of the fridge, and pour on a plate the dressing with chicken and corn might need some help but once you get it all out it looks great! If you are like me you need a bit of crunchy in there so for this salad I used these Kroger Santa Fe Tortilla Strips.

Place those on top and you have a great Salad!

I put everything in My Fitness Pal for you guys to go ahead and get the nutrition all ready for you!
Calories - 333
Fat - 16
Carbs - 25
Fiber - 3
Sugar - 7
Protein - 25
For a hearty salad that is very filling, I think it's a good deal!
Hope you like it!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My Tuesday Weekend in Review

I was going to post my weekend update yesterday, but instead I posted about my decision to pursue a higher education. You can read about that here! Thank you to everyone who has called or texted or emailed me about my decision to go back to school and the support that every single person has showed. It makes me so excited to know that I am not doing this by myself. I sat down at Barnes and Noble last night and opened up GRE for Dummies and started reading. It definitely gave me some more confidence that I can do this!

So anyways here is my late weekend in review.

I had Friday off, woohoo! So that meant that my weekend started on Thursday when I got done watching my kids swim in a swim meet. I went home to chill for a bit before going over to my friend Kirsten's house. While there I found out something via Facebook that devastated me. At first I was super angry then I got really really upset, and after a few phone calls and my roommate being awesome she showed up with some Mike's Hard Lemonade for the win.
(SIDE NOTE - Last weekend at the Cabin I had my first alcoholic beverage in my life, which was a Mike's Hard Lemonade {yes I am 12} and it was delicious, so now I am more open then I have ever been to alcohol. But no I have not gone out and gone crazy, I just have one with dinner when I know I will be home and going to bed soon, those suckers make me sleepy!)
After talking to her and crying my eyes out I headed over to my friends Kirsten's house to have a sleepover. I ended up falling asleep at like 10 and didn't get up till the next morning at around 9 with the rest of the girls.

We meandered around the house and then decided to go get some lunch at Panera before parting our ways to take care of all sorts of things. While at Panera we talked about the tough thing that happened the night before. We talked about what my next step should be in responding. I sat there and cried (and I think I scared a few of the people sitting around us) but it was a conversation that needed to happen and was so good. I felt so loved and cared for in that moment.

After that I went home and cooked up some chicken and veggies to have to eat throughout the week (which I haven't..) and hung out with the dog. Then I got ready and headed to the movies with my bible study ladies to go see Now You See Me, except the movie theater was cray cray busy. Ain't Nobody Got Time for That. So we decided to see Man of Steel instead at a later time and went to go get dinner on the in-between. As a girl who doesn't follow comics or superhero movies I was rather impressed and did enjoy the movie. It was good for someone who doesn't know anything to go in and understand it all.

I went back to Kirsten's house to sleep over again because we were going to go to the lake on Saturday. Our plan was to leave at 10 but none of us got up until 10:30 haha. So we got ready and packed and ended up at the lake around 1:30. We went to a little park and paid $4 to park and when we got to where we were going to get in there was no one there, SCORE! It was so nice and laid back. We set up our chairs, blew up the floats and ended up out on the lake for 3 hours. Pure bliss. After that we went back only to realize we had all gotten some sun. Some worse then others. My burn lasted a day and I ended up tan the next morning when I woke up.

Kirsten's family had been out of town all week, half at Hilton Head, and the other half on a mission trip to Guatemala. So we all got Mexican and sat down to hear different stories. Towards the end of the night I decided to head home to sleep in my bed.

Sunday came and I went to church to work with Devan, my buddy and then headed straight back home to meet up with three of my friends from the cabin. One of them needed to use our Internet to take a test before heading back down to Florida and asked to stop by, and of course I couldn't say no. They came and we all had lunch together and they got to catch up with my roomie. It was Patrick's birthday too so I made some brownies and got to take some pictures with him before I had to head back down to church. After church the rest of the day was quiet and I attempted to prepare for this week I am in now. The family I nanny for is out of town next week and I am going to dog sit for them, and I am excited.

I have decided to link up again with Jess over at Operation Skinny Jeans for some weekly goals.
Operation Skinny Jeans
 1. Walk at least 30 minutes every day.
2. Drink 64 oz of water a day.
3. Track every single calorie, good or bad.
(As you can tell I got off again so I just need to get back to the basics for this week's goals)

Here is a picture from yesterday after we ran a million errands!!! I just laugh every time, these kids are amazing.

This week we are doing a Space theme, so get ready for the fun that comes with that!


Monday, June 24, 2013

The Highest Calling

I am joining Lauren and Kalyn today for Coffee and Conversation. It's amazing that this question came right at this moment with what's happening in my life.

What does it mean to you to have made a difference in this world? What are you doing to achieve that change, and is it possible to do?

Coffee & Conversation

I graduated in December of 2011 with a degree in Special Education and a heart and passion for children. (Obviously. I'm a nanny with a degree in teaching)  While at the lake this weekend with two of my fantastic friends we were sitting on our floats, soaking up the sun (probably a little too much) and just having random conversation. My friend Kirsten got into nursing school and will be starting in the fall and I am so proud of her pursuing her dream to help people. She mentioned that while she was shadowing different people at the hospital that she shadowed a Child Life Specialist. She said it seemed like something I would be good at. She then continued to explain to me that a Child Life Specialist was someone who went into the hospital and worked with kids who were staying in there. Explaining what was going to happen during their surgery and being there for the family.


My heart stopped. I love kids obviously, but have been putting off teaching for a little while now and there has to be a reason for it. I see the difference it makes all the time but feel that it would not be my highest calling that God has for me. If it was then I think doors would have opened and my heart would have been stirred towards teaching, but it hasn't. I am ok with that.

After researching and praying and talking to my mom and a few of my closest friends about the possibility, I started to realize that this could be a possibility. If I am going to be honest it scares the crap out of me. I always thought I would get a higher education but am nervous about going back and doing it again.

On Sunday I sat through a Summer Download at church for the kids ministry I serve in and just listened as our director shared some thoughts with us. She talked about making sure that we were walking into our highest calling, whatever that may be, and doing it completely. WHOA. Wait a second God, are speaking to me? I took it in and then went to sit in our main gathering. It was baptism Sunday which is always my favorite, hearing stories of how God has radically changed lives leaves me in tears as I remember the day God took a hold of me and saved me. Our Pastor talked about the little boy with 5 loaves and 2 fish and how Jesus took it and multiplied it to feed the masses. One of the opening statements that he said was "there is still the possibility for something supernatural to happen in your life." As that moment God had my direct attention, he was totally speaking directly to my heart. He went on to talk about the fact that Jesus used what the boy had available and he blessed it, broke it, and kept multiplying it. But he was only able to do that because the boy let it go.


Take it in Jenny. When I let it go to God, he has the possibility to bless it, break it, and multiply it. I have a gift and a passion, it's children. If I allow God to take that gift and bless it and break it up and multiply it, then He gets all the glory but I get to experience the fullness of who he is.

So where does that leave me.

Do I think I'm making a difference as a nanny right now? Yes I do. I love my kids and I love what I do. But do I think I am stepping into my highest calling that God has for me? No I don't and I am ready to take the necessary steps to get there. First one being signing up for the GRE. I am saving up money now and will be collecting items to study to get ready to take the test in the fall.

As I press forward into this journey I am praying for the Lords guidance and provision as he shows me what it means to press further into Him. Will it be tough and trying at times? Oh yes. But I am ready.

Here I am Lord, Send Me.


Friday, June 21, 2013

The Monster Me!

This week is short week for me, I had Monday off for my cabin adventure, and then I had Friday off for a camping trip that got canceled so now it's just a personal day.

I decided that the kids and I should still have a theme and since Monster's University is coming out this weekend I decided the theme would be Monsters. The kids mom is going to take them to see this movie, and I plan on going and seeing it by myself or with a few willing friends!

Anyways, with the Monsters theme I looked up plenty of crafts on Pinterest.(Funny thing, every week with each new theme my pinterest board blows up with me pinning activities that go with that, it cracks me up, you can follow me here) Well I found a lot of stuff I liked but then something came to my mind and I decided it would be the best craft ever!

I call it Monster Me!

Do you remember when you were a kid and you went outside with chalk and you traced yourself and then spent the entire afternoon coloring it in? No? Well I did. Every single day I was allowed to play with chalk and it was my favorite thing ever.

So off to JoAnns we went to get the supplies, which wasn't much since we had a lot at home.

Supplies Needed:
*Large Roll of White Paper (You are fitting entire children on them)
*Squiggly Eyes
*Other Odds and Ends (Tissue Paper, Feathers, Stickers, etc.)
*Imaginative Children
*Veggie Tale Pandora Radio Station
Ok, the last two are optional, but it makes the project way more fun!
First things first, lay that white paper roll out and have a child lay their whole body on the paper.

Then taking the pencil trace around the child's entire body. It doesn't have to be perfect and I included dresses and Einstein hair (as I call it).

After everyone has been traced cut out each piece of paper with the body on it. (You are not actually cutting the shape of the body quite yet!)
Find some open place on a floor somewhere and tape down the corners and any unruly sides that attempt to thwart your plan.
After the papers are taped down give the kids, pencils, crayons, or markers (or all 3!) and have them decorate their body if they were a Monster!

At this point there are so many giggles and "Hey look at what I'm doing" going on that it's a lot of fun. I gave my kids free range and told them that they could take their time and make their Monster Me however they wanted to.
After the kids have colored everything give them squiggly eyes and all the other odds and ends and some glue and let them accessories their Monster Me.

After everything has sat and dried have the kids cut out their Monster Me and display them anywhere in the house for all to see!

Then I had the kids lay next their Monster Me and take a picture, they came out sooo good.

I introduce to you Mr. Scare Bear, Charlotte, and Dob from top to bottom!

I have created this Pin so you can add to your board and share with others!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

In the Mountains

My weekend started on Friday after work, I just went home and ended up hanging out with my roommate which was nice since we do not get to see each other often. We had a low key night after going out to dinner and then heading back home before I fell asleep on the couch and went to bed. Saturday I got up and laid around and decided that I was going to head up to see my friends who are staying in the mountains starting then instead of Sunday after church.

They were heading up from Florida and weren't getting there till the afternoon so that gave me time to just pack. My roommate and I decided to go hike Kennesaw Mountain with the dog and it was a nice long hike that we all enjoyed and we got a really good workout in as well.

After a run to WalMart and some quick packing I headed up to McCaysville to the cabin to stay with my 2nd family.

**Background Story - I moved to Deltona, Florida between my Junior and Senior year of high school. Crazy? One would think. But to a straight A student with no state scholarships on hand it was the best decision for me. I never regret it for a moment. Well anyways we moved and found a church where I met the Hehre family, who at the time had only lived in Florida a year moving down from New Jersey and living with Ms. Laura's parents. The family consisted of Mr. Bob, Mrs. Laura, Patrick, Robert, and Rachel. I became close with the entire family, grandparents included and spent many a nigh and day over at their house. Tears were shed, laughs were had, and memories were created my senior year because of this family and I continue to come back every summer and spend so much time with them. When I would have trouble at home because of arguments or just feeling down I would go over there and they were always around to give me spiritual council and push me further towards my walk. Last summer they decided to vacation in the North Georgia mountains which meant they were only going to be an hour and a half away from me! So I went and did a Friday night to Saturday night with them and had sooo much fun. In January unexpectedly Mr. Bob passed away it was a shock to all, but he was a Christian and we know that now he is with Jesus. It was really hard as I was not able to be down in Florida due to different circumstances. Later I found out they would be coming up again this summer to spend a week in a cabin. I took off yesterday (Monday) and decided that I would spend a couple days with them this time!!....***

I got up there on Saturday night and just oohed and ahhed at the cabin we were staying at.

Yes believe your eyes! It was THAT amazing and even more! I got the tour around the place and gave everyone a big hug and just hung out. We can go months and even a year without seeing each other and the next time we hang out it is seriously like we have never been apart and that's family for you! After making a grocery list we made a run to Walmart to get the necessities for a couple of days. Then we came back and watched Pitch Perfect before heading to bed.

The next morning I got up bright and early as I always do and deicded to do my devotion down on the picnic table next to the river running behind the cabin. It was breathtaking. I took it all in and slowly different people got up and started their devotionals and just moving about the area. Ms. Laura eventually came down and we got to catch up and talk for a good hour and a half. I use to talk to Mrs. Laura and Mr. Bob for hours and they always gave me such great wisdom, it was different to just be there without Mr. Bob but I was still so blessed by the conversation with Mrs. Laura.

Later that day Robert, Ms Laura and I went into Blue Ridge for a little bit so Robert could get more stuff for his fly fishing poles. I loved the little town and at that moment we decided we would go spend the day there on Monday.

Funny sign we saw in Blue Ridge.

After we got back to the cabin the rest of the group got ready to go to Mercier's Orchard to get some Jams and Pies for tonight. I decided to stay back with Robert and go fishing. Rob and Pat are the two that taught me how to fish and I love the quiet and peace it is. I really wanted to catch a fish. We walked about 1/4 mile down the river on the bank and then got in (uhm can we say cold....) and got to a place where we started fishing. I was out there for about an hour when I decided to go back. I made it to the bank and through the woods back to the cabin for myself. I felt like such a mountain woman. The one good thing about the slips and falls under the water that I made was that my hair ended up looking fantastic!!

That night we made a shrimp broil and grilled veggies on the grill. Yummy! After we ate we had pie and then laid in the living room and just talked until we all went to bed around 10:30.

The next morning we got up and I made French Toast for everyone, even though no cinnamon or we called them American Toast. Then we all got ready and went into town. In Blue Ridge there are a ton of little shops everywhere with all sorts of things and so we took our time walking in and out of many shops. Patrick and I talk about owning a cabin one day so we spent a ton of time looking at furniture and d├ęcor and planning our future cabin. I still have faith it will happen one day! After that we headed back to the orchard because I wanted to get another pie to take home but we got there later in the day and by then they were pretty much wiped out so I got about 6 mini pies to take back, still so good!

Back at the cabin the girls Rachel and Michelle (Michelle went to the cabin last year with them, she is one of my college roomie's sister and we are both just pretty much adopted into the Hehres) and I got our tubes and decided to walk up the river and ride down. We went past a few rapids and decided to get in, the first set of rapids were a little cray cray and I have a few bruises and a few choice words were said but it was a lot of fun. Then as we got close to the cabin there was a loud cracking thunder so we got out and dried off. The boys made Hamburgers for dinner and I heated up more grilled veggies and some chips for a good dinner. We all sat in camping chairs out on the porch while it drizzled.

After dinner I ushered everyone in the cabin to take pictures with me because I had to leave. We took many a picture and then I said good bye to everyone and got in my car to head back to reality. It only took me an hour and half to get home. It was a fantastic weekend and I had sooo much fun! I can be 100% myself around these people and they love me for who I am, everyone needs some of those in their life. They are the best!